Tuesday, April 20, 2010


T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month as it mixes memory with desire. Indeed, it does do that. I also find it cruel because it is my birthday month. So while nature is busting forth with colorful new growth, I'm reminded of the passing of time.

For weeks I've been thinking about my old boyfriend Tom. He's been dead for almost twenty years. He left way too soon. And I was way too young to appreciate what I had with him or what we had together. I guess I thought I was young enough that I would have many more chances at relationships - why should I bother working through the bumps and inconveniences of a relationship while there was still so much more out there to discover?

It's hard to reconcile such youthful foolishness. I wish I could have done things differently, but of course, that's not possible. Tom is not forgotten; his spirit still lives on in my heart, and he knows how significant he was in the shaping of who I am today.

I realize this is all sounding very sentimental and maudlin, but hey, it's my birthday, and I'm feeling old! Just let me rattle on, I'm almost done.

What I'm trying to keep in mind (and usually failing at) is that ten years ago I remember feeling self-conscious and unattractive. Now I look at pictures of myself from that period and I think I was pretty hot. When I look at pictures of myself ten years from now I'll probably think I was looking pretty good now. If I could just remember to stay in the moment and be grateful for what I have, then all this concern for aging and lost time might not be so consuming of the time I do have.

Vanity and self-consciousness prevent me from enjoying who I am right now. Cherry blossoms bloom for a very short time. But if I'm worried about them falling - then I'm not really enjoying them, am I?

Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I got this recipe from my father a number of years ago. I believe that the recipe originally said it was a Lindy's cheesecake (the once famous New York eatery) though I can't be sure. Regardless of its origins, this cake kicks ass! I made it this last Sunday for an Easter/Passover gathering, and again, it didn't disappoint. Far from it. It seems that every time I make it I forget one of the ingredients (this last time I accidentally left out the cream, other times I've forgotten to add the flour to the filling), but it doesn't seem to make any difference. It has a simple, almost butter cookie-like crust, but the real kicker here is the freshly grated lemon and orange zests. It gives the cake a surprising citrus-y, aromatic lightness that balances out its super creamy heaviness perfectly.

1 cup flour
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk

5 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons @ grated lemon & orange zests
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
5 eggs
2 egg yolks

Combine flour, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Make a hole in the center and add yolk and butter. Mix till the dough cleans the side of the bowl. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 400.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 10" spring form with butter. Remove the sides of the pan.
Take a third of the dough and roll flat to fit the bottom of the pan. Trim the edge.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Divide the remainder of the dough in 3 or 4 parts and roll into strips about 2 1/2 or 3 inches wide.
Put the pan together and using your fingers, fit the wide strips of dough to the sides of the pan.
Use a sharp knife and trim the dough so it comes 3/4 the way up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate.

Raise oven to 500.

Mix cheese, sugar, flour, citrus zests, and vanilla. Beat to blend.
Beat in eggs and yolks one at a time, add cream. Continue mixing till well combined and then pour the cheese mixture into the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 1 hour.